Candy is happiness for Williesha Robinson-Bethel. She is the owner of WillBe’s Corner Candy Store in Roxborough. It is a candy store that is named and dedicated to her son, William Bethel.
“He loved to ride bikes, he loved sports, and had dreams of being a boxer,” she said. “He was silly, he made everybody laugh regardless of what was going on.”
On Easter Sunday in 2018, someone shot her son while he was walking on South Street. He died a short time later. He was 16 years-old.
“It’s like a never-ending nightmare,” she said. “You wake up pushing yourself to move forward.”
Bethel said her son loved candy and that’s why she opened WillBe’s Corner Candy Store in April.
Madison Morris was a friend of William. She said they spent a lot of time together. She often stops by the shop to help out and enjoy some of the treats.
“It’s sad because you miss him, but it’s a happy environment because you come here and it reminds you of him,” she said.
Bethel also started the WilliamBe Foundation. It encourages children to speak out against gun violence.
According to the Philadelphia Police Department, more than 130 minors have been shot so far this year in Philadelphia. Police say that 28 minors have died so far this year in Philadelphia due to gun violence.
“Something has to be done because we are losing our kids at a rapid pace,” said Bethel.
She thinks is going to take a village to solve this issue, but right now, she is trying to bring smiles to the kids in her community.
“That’s what keeps me going. That’s what makes me open these doors every day, the smiles,” she said. “I hope he is proud and happy and I think he would be very excited.”